​Cross country teams look to capitalize at home

​Cross country teams look to capitalize at home

The men's and women's teams will host the annual Crimson Classic on Friday. UA Athletics

Hannah Waggoner did not always run cross country, but she is no stranger to competition. Before attending The University of Alabama, Hannah experienced success in soccer, tennis, karate and track in addition to cross country.

Teammate Allison Gregg said she thinks Waggoner’s history as a multi-sport athlete has prepared her for the success she is experiencing.

“It has helped to make her a strong runner overall," Gregg said.

Entering her second year at the University, Waggoner has seen her personal records from last year shattered. Waggoner said she feels her maturity as a runner has helped her to feel more comfortable when competing this year.

“[Succeeding early] put me in a good spot for the rest of the year because now I have confidence in my running because I’ve done it before," she said. “That is probably the best feeling knowing I have a lot of potential for the rest of the year.”

Waggoner did not have success fall into her lap, however. Teammates and coaches alike praise her for her consistent work ethic.

"Hannah works hard, is very attentive and coachable and has an excellent attitude," coach Dan Waters said.

Friday, the men's and women's teams will enjoy home field advantage when they host the annual Crimson Classic. Despite the familiar scenery, Waters said he is not changing his approach to this weekend.

“Regardless of where we compete, we need to race that day as if it's the most important competition there is," he said.

While his approach would not change, Waters said he does expect the familiarity of the course to help the athletes succeed.

“We know our course better than anyone so we should be able to run our kind of race," he said.

Waters said he expects the Crimson Classic will challenge both teams as several quality teams from the region as well as the SEC will travel to Tuscaloosa to compete. Waggoner and her teammates said they are looking forward to the Crimson Classic and the championship portion of the season that follows this weekend’s event.

“We are all very hungry to get out there and do something great," Waggoner said.

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